An Impossible Mission, AKA Organizing the Bottom Drawer Freezer | Giftie Etcetera: An Impossible Mission, AKA Organizing the Bottom Drawer Freezer

Sunday, October 7, 2012

An Impossible Mission, AKA Organizing the Bottom Drawer Freezer

Let me introduce you the my new, shiny, silver refrigerator.  It has a freezer drawer on the bottom.

Our old side-by-side white one died a painful, loud, at-least-none-of-my-freezer-food-melted-thank-Goodness death a couple of weeks ago.  I've been cooking and freezer cooking a lot in an effort to save money and eat healthier.  I've also been buying meat in bulk to save money and veggies in bulk to freeze them at the height of freshness.  Having a bigger fridge is a blessing, but we noticed when freezer shopping that all the freezers were shrunken by evil manufacturers who want you to buy a separate freezer smaller than we expected and poorly laid out.

The freezer didn't arrive until late one night, so we threw everything in before it melted and shoved the drawer closed.

Big mistake.  I could not find anything.

I also could not close the top portion of the stacked freezer drawer.

Of course, I Googled it.  I Pinterested it.  I did my homework.  I found mostly complaints and people with an extra deep freeze.  I found very little that was useful.  I found an organizing project!

Here's what I learned (on my own, THANK YOU FOR YOUR TOTAL LACK OF HELP, INTERNET, grumble grumble):

1.  You need supplies to organize the fridge.  I used what I had on hand.  I had a ton of these cheap, no name plastic containers from helping cater my sister's wedding.  (I made meatballs in my crockpot with pineapples and barbeque sauce, stored it in the containers, and the catering staff heated it up at the wedding.  I bought the cheap kind because I assumed catering staff would toss the containers.  Instead, they washed and returned them, sans enough lids.)  I also used gallon storage bags and an orange marker (or, really, any non-black color, just because I label individual serving bags in black and the new color will signify a bag containing many individual servings).

2. Put all the ice blocks and popsicles in the ice maker tray.  Don't worry.  The icemaker usually makes too much ice for a family, anyway.  This way, you are using the space more efficiently than for storing frozen water.  And your icemaker will now make less ice (wasting less water and energy) and fresher ice (since you are replenishing more often).  Plus, putting ice pops with ice just makes logical sense.  Hello, OCD.

3.  Next, lay the frozen pizzas at the bottom of the big upper tray next to the ice.  It's the only place where they will fit.

4. All convenience foods go on top of and around the pizza in a single layer.  The top tray has more vertical room than you think, so stack the food vertically as much as possible.  You can see where I stacked the 16 corn dogs in the back of the tray vertically instead of horizontally.  I did the same thing with anything short enough, like the meatballs and chicken nuggets.  On a financial and health basis, convenience foods probably should not be so readily available.  However, my husband and children are the ones who eat the convenience meats - and I don't want them digging through the freezer on nights when I don't cook.  (Usually, I eat leftovers or a salad on those nights.)  I only eat convenience breakfasts (waffles, bagels, and toast) and breakfast is the one meal that MUST be cooked quickly.  Hence, the decision to put convenience foods on top.

5. Gather individual raw veggies and meat into labeled, vertical, gallon ziploc bags in lower left section of the freezer.  This accomplishes a number of things.  First, it creates a quick inventory.  For example, the Ground Beef bag only has one small ziploc with a pound of ground beef in it.  That's one supper for this family.  As soon as ground beef goes on sale, we need more.  But the Chicken, Peppers, Chopped Veggies, and Stir-Fry Veggies bags are all full, so I don't need that stuff.  Second, it allows you to store the food vertically, creating more space.  Third, you can see the labels, like flipping though old record albums.  Even in this pic, taken from one side, you can see the labels.

6. Place freezer meals (which I freeze in individual or double portions only, so I can defrost even four meals quickly) in containers on the right bottom side of freezer, sorting by type (beans, chilis/roast, other).  I could have done the same thing with the gallon ziplocs for my freezer meals, but my inventory of freezer meals really varies a good bit.  So I sorted them into the cheapo containers instead, uncovered, and put my frozen bread rolls in with them.  Right now, I have meat pies, roast, red beans, black beans, chili, and sweet and sour meatballs in the freezer.  Note to self - need more chili and red beans.)  I plan to keep this side pretty empty and easy to access, as 75% of dinners come from here!

Here's the final photo of an organized, bottom drawer freezer, for you to share on Pinterest.  Please credit to!

Questions?  Feel free to comment.



Giftie Etcetera said...

I have since added an inventory to help. It does, but it's still a nightmare. I'm thinking of getting a chest freezer.

Giftie Etcetera said...

Metro Journalist said...

I feel your pain! Love your suggestions.